Pakistan Security Brief
Pakistan Security Brief – June 12, 2009
An outspoken anti-Taliban cleric was killed by a suicide bomber in Lahore on Friday; a suicide truck bomb targeted a mosque in Nowshera killing six on Friday; Pakistani military reportedly continued to clash with militants in pockets of Bannu, Malakand, and South Waziristan; Pakistani Taliban reportedly faces funding shortages which may lead to increased criminality in an effort to acquire more cash; U.S. House passed a $1.5 billion annual aid package to Pakistan while debates lingered on “how many strings come attached.”
- A senior moderate Muslim cleric in Lahore is killed by a suicide bomber after Friday prayers. Arfaraz Ahmed Naeemi is said to have received death threats in the past due to his open opposition to the Taliban and his formation of a coalition of moderate clerics supporting the Pakistani military offensive in Swat. The attack killing Naeemi is also said to have killed five others and wounded ten.
- A suicide truck bombing targeting a mosque in Nowshera, close to Islamabad, has caused the deaths of six people and injured ninety. The explosion caused the mosque’s roof to collapse trapping many under the rubble. It is likely the mosque was targeted because it was “near an army supply depot in Nowshera” and frequented by soldiers.
- Security forces reportedly “killed 66 more militants and arrested nine others” while losing four soldiers in their ongoing operations in different parts of Malakand, Bannu, and South Waziristan. While the military continues to consolidate in Swat, fighting has intensified in Waziristan and Bannu amid persistent rumors of an impending military operation in the region.
- Congress passed a bill officially tripling U.S. aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion for each of the next five years and paving the way for the establishment of reconstruction opportunity zones. The passage of the bill is part of the new U.S. effort to counter extremism in Pakistan with “economic and social development.” The bill also accounts for military aid and requires President Obama’s certification that Pakistan is committed to combating terrorism.
- CIA Director Leon Panetta has made a statement saying he still believes Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan; he expressed his hope that the increased Pakistani operational tempo in conjunction with U.S. operations will aid in finding the Al Qaeda leader.
- Reports say the Pakistan Taliban faces a major funding crisis due to the military operations in Swat and it is rumored that the group is preparing to turn more heavily towards criminal activities like robberies and kidnappings for cash. Intelligence services have warned that Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad are the likeliest targets of such criminality.